The Best Food and Wine Tours in the Bay of Islands
Dine on local seafood, drink wine straight from the winery, taste handmade chocolates at the factory, and sail the bay while indulging in a gourmet lunch; it’s all waiting for foodies in the Bay of Islands. With its subtropical climate, the Bay of Islands is a fabulous yet underrated fruit-growing and wine region, which provides boutique winery and artisan experiences to please any food-lover. Friendly locals are eager to share the local flavours with you, whether through the farmers’ market, restaurants or even in their own home with a cooking class. Intrigued? We’ll go into more detail in this list of the best foodie experiences and wine tours in the Bay of Islands!
1. Experience the Bay Through a Wine Tour
The Bay of Islands is one of the most underrated wine-growing regions of New Zealand, which means you’ll get a truly off-the-beaten-track feel for any winery visit or wine tour you’ll experience here. For instance, indulge in a private winery tour with the Kernhem Group who offer comprehensive tours incorporating wine tasting and sightseeing. The full-day experience explores some of the natural and historical attractions, including Haruru Falls and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, before embarking on a journey to the Kerikeri wine region. See more private tours like this in our 10 Best Luxury Experiences in the Bay of Islands.
Location: Pick-ups are available from accommodations in Paihia and Kerikeri.
2. Explore the Senses on a Wine, Craft Beer and Chocolate Tour
Enjoy more variety with Mullarkeys Tours who combine a smorgasbord of food and drink experiences on their wine and craft beer tour. This half-day activity includes a visit to the Sovrano Estate for a vineyard tour and tasting before travelling to Marsden Estate for more tastings and a lunch platter in a scenic lake setting. Next, it’s off to PhatHouse Brewing Co. for tasting beers made from natural ingredients. Finally, tour the Fat Pig Vineyard before returning to your accommodation.
Location: Tours depart from the Paihia i-SITE or Kerikeri town centre.
3. Or Visit the Wineries and Breweries Independently
If you’re lucky enough to have a designated driver, it is easy enough to visit the Bay of Islands’ top wineries and breweries independently (as long as you double-check opening hours, which vary between seasons).
Wineries in the Bay of Islands
- Marsden Estate – Cellar door and restaurant with lake view open daily all year round – 56 Wiroa Road, Kerikeri
- Sovrano Estate – Italian-inspired wines, liqueurs and restaurant – 165 Waimate North Road, Kerikeri
- Fat Pig Vineyard – Cellar door with casual setting and opening hours – 177 Puketotara Road, Waipapa
- Kainui Road Vineyard & Brewery – Wine, beer and antipasto platters during summer weekends – 1 Conifer Lane, Waipapa
- Paroa Bay Winery & Accommodation – Restaurant with wine tasting and commanding views – 31 Otamarua Road, Russell
- Omata Estate Vineyard & Kitchen – Wine tasting, pizza and platters at the restaurant – 212 Aucks Road, Russell
- The Landing Wines – Vineyard tours are open to guests and non-guests at this luxury estate – 623 Rangihoua Road, Purerua Peninsula.
See how these compare to the 10 Best Winery Tours in New Zealand.
Breweries in the Bay of Islands
- PhatHouse Brewing Co. – Carefully crafted beers and pizzas at their brewbar – 2 Garden Court, Haruru
- Kainui Road Vineyard & Brewery – Wine, beer and antipasto platters during summer weekends – 1 Conifer Lane, Waipapa.
And see how these compare to the 10 Best Brewery Tours in New Zealand.
4. Mingle with the Locals at the Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market…
Meet a passionate group of local growers and artisans at the Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market. This free event takes place every Thursday afternoon in Paihia and every Sunday morning in Kerikeri, where you can taste and purchase a range of locally grown produce, cheese, preserves, free-range eggs, artisan goods, beverages and more. The markets happen whatever the weather, so don’t miss out!
Location: Paihia – The Village Green, 60 Marsden Road. Kerikeri – Post Office Carpark, 10 Hobson Avenue.
5. … Or The Old Packhouse Market
Another quintessential Kiwi market arrives on the weekend in Kerikeri at The Old Packhouse Market. Happening every Saturday and Sunday morning, meet the locals, sample an array of street food and baked goods, and browse an array of local plants, artisanal products, seafood, cheeses and more! If you can’t make it on a weekend, at least the charming Old Packhouse Cafe, Bakery and Deli are open all week long! For more Kerikeri antics, check out the 15 Best Things to Do in Kerikeri.
Location: 505 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri.
6. Do a Bay of Islands’ Market Tour and Cooking Class
Speaking of markets, take the experience to the next level with a market tour and vegetarian cooking class! Anna from the Travelling Spoon will take you on a gastronomical journey as you learn about the local culture through its food. After a local market tour, you’ll head to Anna’s 140-year-old kauri villa to learn how to make a vegetarian or vegan barbecue or a meal influenced by Middle-Eastern, Italian, Asian or Mexican flavours.
Location: Kerikeri; exact location is given upon booking.
7. Indulge in a Sailing Cruise with a Gourmet Lunch
It would almost be a crime to visit the Bay of Islands and not get out on the water. Don’t worry, you can even do this through a foodie experience with Sunkissed Gourmet Sailing Adventures. While sailing between the bay’s 144 islands and stopping for island hiking, snorkelling and relaxing, the crew will prepare a gourmet lunch onboard from scratch. Either dine onboard or on the beach on a meal such as barbecued butterflied lamb leg served with a Mediterranean grilled vegetable salad with chimichurri and ciabatta. See how this tour compares to the 15 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands.
Location: Tours depart from Paihia Wharf.
8. Watch Chocolate Goodness in the Making
A free way to experience the tastes of the Bay of Islands is at Makana Confections in Kerikeri. Watch chocolates being handmade in their chocolate factory, which has large windows looking in from their gift shop. Next door is their cafe with all sorts of irresistible treats. For more ways to experience the Bay of Islands on a budget, see the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Bay of Islands.
Location: 504 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri.
9. Stop By the Mahoe Cheese Factory
It doesn’t get more “local” than Mahoe Cheese Factory who not only herd their own cows to produce milk for their delectable cheeses but sell their fair themselves at local markets, as well as their small farm shop in Oromahoe near Kawakawa. The farm shop is open Monday to Saturday to taste and browse their mature and fresh cheeses, as well as yoghurts and quarks.
Location: Between State Highway 10 and Oromahoe Road, Pakaraka.
10. Dine on Fresh Seafood, Taste Local Wines and More at the Bay of Islands’ Restaurants
From some of the oldest pubs and restaurants in the country to lavish wineries to classic Kiwi fish and chips, the Bay of Islands food scene is fun and varied. Spend some time in Kerikeri to make the most of vineyard restaurants such as Marsden Estate (56 Wiroa Road), sample fresh seafood in Paihia at the Tipsy Oyster Tapas & Bar (24 Kings Road) or try some classic Kiwi-style fish and chips at JFC (40 Marsden Road). A visit to the bay is not complete until you’ve tasted some Bay of Islands’ gourmet ice cream, such as at Cellini’s Ice Cream & Espresso (Williams Road, Paihia) or Delish Coffee and Ice Cream (4 Cass Street, Russell).
For more recommendations, head over to The Food Guide to the Bay of Islands: Places to Eat & Food Tours.
More About the Bay of Islands for Foodies
That’s it for our list of wine tours and foodie experiences in the Bay of Islands. For more about treating yourself in Paihia, Russell, Kerikeri and beyond, check out the following:
- The Food Guide to the Bay of Islands: Places to Eat & Food Tours
- 20 Best Things to Do in the Bay of Islands
- 15 Best Hotels in the Bay of Islands
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Travel Guide to the Bay of Islands.